Whether you are an employer or employee, in a unionized
environment or not, and whether or not you have a retirement
savings plan of any kind, the federal government wants to hear from
Last fall, we told you about pension reform and the possibility
new national pension plan. The federal government is now
seeking your input on how the Canadian retirement income system can
be strengthened and reformed.
On March 24, 2010, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of
Finance, announced the launch of cross-country and online
consultations to gather ideas on how to ensure the "ongoing
strength" of Canada's retirement income system. He stated,
"Our government will be giving Canadians an unprecedented
opportunity to provide direct input on the future security and
soundness of Canada's retirement income system."
Consultations are open from March 24 to April 30, 2010. Anyone
interested is welcome to participate.
Information gathered from the consultations will be reviewed and
discussed by federal and provincial finance ministers at their
spring meeting in May. The meeting takes place a year after a
Research Working Group was established by the finance ministers to
review Canada's retirement system, and follows the discussions
held in Whitehorse last December.
Numerous proposals have been canvassed in the public domain on
how to improve the Canadian retirement income system. The proposals
fall within three main categories:
government-sponsored, voluntary defined contribution pension
plans (e.g. creating a new voluntary supplement to the CPP);
mandatory, defined benefit pension plans (e.g. expanding the
current CPP coverage); and
increased flexibility for private-sector, defined contribution
pension plans and increased opportunities for private savings (e.g.
expanding tax incentives to encourage retirement savings,
increasing coverage of private employer plans, and creating
multi-employer pension plans with automatic enrolment, automatic
escalation and an opt-out clause).
Considerations for evaluating the proposals include
affordability, sustainability of costs over the long-term, cost
burdens, maintaining balance between individuals and government and
individual choice, and accessibility for all Canadians.
If you want to have your say about pension reform in Canada, you
can participate by submitting your comments related to these or
other considerations by email to ris-consultationssrr@ fin.gc.ca.
In addition, various in-person consultations will be held across
public town hall meetings in Charlottetown, P.E.I.;
Québec City, Que.; and Richmond, B.C.;
roundtable sessions in St. John's, N.L.; Winnipeg, Man.;
and London, Ont.; with invited key stakeholders, experts and
government representatives; and
conferences hosted by the University of Calgary on April 12,
2010, and the Institute of Research on Public Policy in Toronto on
May 4, 2010.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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